'Precious' lives up to the hype

Precious-Push_lWhile big-studio releases like A Christmas Carol and The Fourth Kind topped the box office chart this weekend, all OscarWatchers’ eyes were on Precious. After dominating this year’s film-festival prizes, the indie drama opened on Friday to very strong reviews, resulting in an 85 grade from Rotten Tomatoes. EW’s Owen Gleiberman rated the film an A, while the New York TimesA.O. Scott said that lead actress Gabourey Sidibe was “extraordinarily poised.” But the critics weren’t the only ones going crazy over the film. Playing in just 18 theaters, Precious grossed a phenomenal $1.8 million, according to studio estimates. If those numbers hold, Precious will become only the third live-action film to score a per-theater average of over $100,000, following in the heels of multiple Oscar nominees Dreamgirls and Brokeback Mountain. Considering all of this was accomplished by a film by a relatively new director with no big movie stars in it, it’s an amazing achievement. It was well on its way to becoming a Best Picture nominee already, but now Precious is seeming more and more like a front-runner. The question now: Can it distinguish itself from Dreamgirls (which missed out on a Best Picture nod) and Brokeback Mountain (which lost to Crash) and actually win? Between Invictus, The Hurt Locker, The Lovely Bones, Up in the Air, and Nine, it certainly seems to have some stiff competition.

Did any of you see Precious this weekend (or before it opened)? Do you think it deserves its front-runner status?

Photo credit: Anne Marie Fox

Comments (83 total) Add your comment
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  • lee

    i saw it
    it was interesting and i was pleasantly surprised considering i was taken to it against my will.
    its no slumdog millionaire or dreamgirls but it definitely deserves a best picture nod

    • bbop212

      completely agree with you, except about dreamgirls (i hate musicals). it definitely lived up to the hype, but it didn’t evoke the kind of feeling slumdog left me with last year. maybe because all i’ve been hearing since january is, PRECIOUS=OSCAR, and when i saw slumdog there wasn’t that buzz yet. i would still recommend this movie to anyone, just try to block out everything you’ve heard about this movie since january.

      • Ronnie Deshe

        Not trying to play devil’s advocate or anything, but I think you’re exaggerating about the buzz surrounding Precious. I don’t think anyone knew about the film since January other than the film’s producers. I would maybe believe since June, but not much longer than that.

    • Ronnie Deshe

      Slumdog was overrated.

  • Cole9219

    I really want to see Up in the Air and The Lovely Bones and kinda hope they win something because they seem like awesome movies.

    • James S.

      Ugh. I’m sorry, but these sorts of comments irk me. How in the world can you hope that a movie you haven’t seen wins an Oscar simply because it SEEMS like an awesome movie? I don’t get it.

  • jfms777

    What great news! I only hope that mainstream Hollywood will not hold any prejudice against a talented director who happens to be Black and Gay.

    • mike

      Are we thinking about the same mainstream Hollywood. If anything Hollywood will be prejudice for a talented director who happens to be black and gay.

      • Crystal

        Name me the last black or openly gay director who won and Oscar?

      • DVaRmy

        When was the last time one had a film nominated?

      • Dave

        Yeah. Because black and openly gay directors are so over-represented among Oscar winners.

        Are you really that ignorant, or are you just being a jerk?

      • Howard

        The guy who directed this movie also directed Monster’s Ball. Hallie Berry one the Oscar for best actress for her role in that movie.

      • Crystal

        Lee Daniels produced Monster’s Ball, Marc Forster directed it.

    • mel

      This is the same Hollywood that is always trying to be hip and cool, on the cusp of being the utmost in liberal, that has played an INTEGRAL role in the NOH8 campaign? Please, if Precious is as good as it looks, Daniels will not be overlooked in nominations because he is Black and gay.

      IF anything, that would just make him a better story. Now whether he wins, thats another story. Esp. if Clint Eastwood is in the mix, lol

    • paige

      Pedro Almodovar has won an Oscar and he is openly gay… so are his movies…

    • Big Guy

      Admittedly, I am neither black nor gay, but it seems a little paranoid to think this determines votes. In fact, I, too, could see how it could work for a film. Hollywood likes to break new ground.

  • jack hart

    i don’t think it’s showing in tampa bay yet . .. saw lee daniels’ “shadowboxwer”, can’t wait 2 see this

  • Godfather

    It’s images of poverty, abuse, and illiteracy in America are more in your face than in any other prior film — this is the power of this movie. There is an ebb and flow in the intensity of its dramatic arc that is logical and artistic at the same time. While the film feels somewhat overly edited, the pacing propels you through the film smoothly. Performances are superior all-around. Although the ending is satisfying, I wanted it to reach a slightly higher dramatic level. All in all, the film left me with unforgettable images in my mind and made me re-think all my assumptions about that milieu and the Americans who struggle to emerge from it.

    • Sean

      –It’s images of poverty, abuse, and illiteracy in America–

      Why do you have an apostrophe in the word its?

      • Mark

        OK, there was a typographical error, clearly. But, seriously, why are you picking on comments that have minor typographical errors when it otherwise is as intelligent and well thought out as this one was? Come on, now.

      • mtraptor

        why do you have to nitpick intelligent, considered comments? surely content is more important than grammar.

      • Dave

        Thank you. Contrary to the other posters, I agree with you. It’s not nitpicking – it completely changes the medium of the sentence. Once I realized that the first word should have been “its” and not “it’s,” I had to reread the sentence to get the proper meaning.

        I just hate that the dumbing down of the internet has made it so that people who insist on correct usage are the ones who are viewed as having something wrong with them.

      • Dave

        Oops. Meant to say “completely changes the meaning of the sentence.” I guess I should proofread more before I hit “Post Comment.”

      • Danno

        I’m sorry I didn’t realize this was high school English class Mr. Perfect. Get over yourself.

  • Gregoire

    Brilliant in every way. A new classic. And on a completely superficial side note — if Paula Patton isn’t the most beautiful woman in film today, I don’t know who is.

    • Mags

      Agree on Paula Patton. Good lord, she’s gorgeous.

      • Ditto

        She’s stunning and a fantastic actress. I hate when people call her the “next Halle Berry”. She’s the next big thing PERIOD.

    • jade

      Robin Thicke is one lucky guy. I love them together!

  • Mags

    Wow. The acting in this movie was phenomenal. I agree with Godfather up there that the movie never really quite got me as emotionally as it should have. The fantasy sequences took me out of the moment a little bit, though maybe they were necessary because with out them the subject matter would’ve been too, too heavy.

  • Sarah

    I really want to see this movie. I’m anxiously awaiting its release in my theater!

  • carol

    I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie which made me laugh, cry and gasp in horror throughout the entire film. The acting was tremendous and I hope to see multiple nominations come Oscar time.

  • Terrie

    I came out of the movie thinking Oscar – for movie, for Moni’que and Gabourey. The story powerfully touched on so many issues between abuse (physical and sexual), illiteracy, welfare system, obesity, HIV, sex and young people…….. and to be able to add a little humor in the midst. I felt that the enormous movie prices are worth it for this one!

    • me

      before i saw the film i thought gaby would be the only reason to see the movie. she was, undeniably, the shining star, however, if moni’que does not get an academy award someone’s gonna get hurt. that was the gripping role of a lifetime. raw and emotional, bravo

  • Dan

    I loved Precious…it was an adventure to see it, driving all around LA looking for a showing that wasn’t sold out. Ended up in one of the most impoverished areas of LA and it really added to the experience.
    Mo’Nique was so scary…and well deserving of a Best Supporting nod, along with Gabourey Sidibe who should be holding the gold for Best Actress come February. As for best picture, I’m not quite sure yet. Not in a bad way, I’m just curious to see what happens, especially with Nine. With the recession being such a forefront, maybe the academy will go for something more uplifting than Precious. Even though she rises a bit…if you’ve seen it you know what I mean. But you just know…she’ll never get as far as she wants.

  • RyanK

    The Three Rivers Film Festival in Pittsburgh was showing it, but it was sold out days in advance. This movie really seems like it could actually make some money with mainstream audiences too. I’m very curious to see what happens upon full release.

  • dnbetts

    Have not seen the movie but the trailer is awesome. I am excited to see it and others tht offer entertainment for a change.

  • MB Chicago

    I saw Precious Saturday morning in a packed theater. I was deeply moved by the film, but feel it borders on melodrama. Nonetheless, I hope it not only receives lots of nominations this awards season, but wins many as well.

  • coen

    What about A Serious Man? Saw that this weekend. Best Picture nominee for sure

    • F

      Or Untitled?

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